ghost writer

10 Instances When Hiring a Ghost Writer Makes Perfect Sense

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien

October 20, 2022

Have you been thinking about hiring a ghost writer? Many published authors have used them, including celebrities, corporate executives, sports stars, and government officials. It’s estimated that about 60% of nonfiction books are written by ghost authors, although it’s hard to be exact because these authors don’t get credit for their work.

There are many good reasons to hire a ghost writer. In this article, we’ll consider reasons to hire a ghost writer and what to expect when you work with one.

What Is a Ghost Writer?

The term refers to a professional writer who writes an article, book, or other published piece that appears under your name. You get the byline and credit, while the ghost writer does the writing work. The ghost writer doesn’t get writing credit.

Many ghostwriters sign non-disclosure agreements, so you may not know if someone has used a ghost. Skilled ghostwriters can write in many voices and for varied audiences. It is difficult, highly skilled work, and ghostwriters are paid well for their efforts.

10 Instances When It Makes Sense to Hire a Ghost Writer

1. You keep meaning to write a book

You’ve been planning to write a book for a long time, but you never get around to it. Maybe you have an interesting personal story, or perhaps you’re a recognized expert in your field. You keep getting told you should write a book, but for various reasons, you haven’t found the time or energy to do it. Hiring a ghost means you’ll finally get those words down on paper and in print.

2. You don’t like writing

Many people don’t like writing, and many others aren’t skilled at it. You might have wonderful ideas or a need to share your advice and experiences. That doesn’t mean you can write, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that. Many people are great at concepts and big ideas but not good at expressing themselves on paper. It’s better to accept your limitations and recognize that you need help putting your thoughts together in a clear, organized way.

3. You don’t have time to write

This is one of the chief reasons people choose a ghost author. Corporate executives, professional athletes, doctors, scientists, performers, and entrepreneurs are among the many people who are successful but too busy to sit down and write. Hiring a ghost takes off the pressure and helps them save time.

Writing a book is a massive undertaking. It takes most writers about a year to write a book, and that doesn’t include editing, formatting, or printing. Time is precious, and a ghost author can save you a lot of it.

4. You’re willing to make the investment in money

Working with a ghost writer is expensive. How much of an investment are you willing to make in your book? For many people, the joy of finally seeing their words in print is worth every penny they spent to make it happen. Only you can decide if you have the means and desire to make that same investment.

In some cases, it makes financial sense to hire a professional, in the same way that it makes sense to hire a professional painter instead of attempting a DIY paint job. You can be assured the job will be done correctly, and you won’t have to take time out of your business or family obligations to get it done.

5. You’re willing to make the investment in time

Working with a ghost author takes a lot less time than writing a book yourself, but it still requires some commitment. You must hire the ghost writer, meet with them, and supply them with the information they need to write the book. That might involve your research, articles you’ve written, interviews with you and others, contact information, and other efforts the ghost writer must undertake before writing.

6. You want to build your brand as an author

If you want to establish yourself as an authority, a book is a necessity. If you peruse the blogs and biographies of many successful people, you will often see that they have self-published several books in their field. You can become recognized as an expert by writing articles and blog posts, but a book gives you the most clout.

7. You want to monetize your blog

There are many ways to monetize a blog. One of the most lucrative is to offer a book you’ve written. Hiring a ghost author means you can focus on building your blog and traffic instead of taking time out to produce the books you’ll sell. Offer your books in both online and print format to make the most impact.

8. You want to keep your name on the product

Ghost writers use your information to write a book or an article that will get you noticed. However, the ghost doesn’t get credit for writing it. That’s part of the contract you sign with the author. The writer knows that you get to keep the byline and claim the work as your own.

There is nothing illegal or unethical about this. It is a fair exchange of your money for the writer’s work, and it is an accepted practice in the publishing industry. A ghost writer typically has extensive experience writing for many different audiences. Good ghost writers are in high demand because they bring an impressive array of skills to each project.

9. You want to reach certain readers

Many people who are knowledgeable about their field have a hard time explaining complicated concepts to people outside the industry. If you are used to talking to your colleagues, you may use specialized terminology that is hard for others to understand. Do you want to reach a non-technical audience? A ghost author can explain your concepts in clear, simple language that anyone can read.

10. You want to work with someone you trust

A professional ghost writer doesn’t just take your ideas, write a book, and then bring you the finished product. Instead, the writer becomes a partner who’s invested in the success of the book. The writer wants the book to get finished, get printed, and become a wonderful product you can both be proud of. Your ghost author will work with you to tell your story in your voice.

Contract Pointers

When you sign a ghostwriting contract, there are certain elements you must include. Hire a lawyer who specializes in publishing contracts to ensure you and the writer have the same expectations. Here are some standard clauses you are likely to find.

  • Nondisclosure: A nondisclosure agreement, also known as an NDA, means the writer can’t reveal any information about you, the book, or the contract. The NDA can last for as long as the book is in print, or it may be limited in time and scope.
  • Copyright: You hold the copyright to the book and have control of all dissemination, copying, and other uses of the book.
  • Payment and royalties: Ghost writers who are commissioned by publishers or book agents usually receive a flat fee for their work and a percentage of future royalties. If you’re self-publishing, the writer probably won’t accept a royalty share agreement.
  • Kill fee: If you decide not to use the ghost author’s work, you may be required to pay a “kill fee.” Kill fees are common in journalism and commercial book publishing, and an experienced ghost author may expect it as part of the contract.
  • Bylines: Some people include their ghost writers as co-authors.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of hiring a ghost depends on several factors, including:

  • The writer’s experience and credentials
  • Deadlines
  • Amount of research involved
  • Book length

You can expect to pay from $30,000 to $200,000 to hire a writer for a book that runs 70,000 to 90,000 words.

How It Works

The process begins when you select a writer for your project. You’ll discuss your book at length and determine if you can work together toward the same goal. If the writer seems like a good fit, you will then discuss the scope of the book.

You then give the writer all your notes, pictures, research materials, and other relevant information. They take the information and put together an outline of the book. Once you approve the outline, the writer gets to work and produces the first draft.

Once you have a chance to make corrections to the first draft, the writer creates a new version, and the process continues until you have a final draft you are happy with. You then have a copy editor and proofreader go over the final version. Once those edits are made, the book is ready to be printed.

Get Your Book Ghosted and Printed

At Publishing Xpress, we can help with the printing of your professionally written book. If you want top-notch service with a personal touch, contact us today.


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